The vast amount of information that is available on the internet is yours to access with little more than a few key strokes. This is both a blessing and a curse: Having access to a wealth of information is great, but chances are that most of what your search delivers will not be useful. For example, if you want to know about luxury cars that might be for sale, the dupont registry might be your best source but typing luxury cars into a search engine will reveal almost 26 million results.
There are a few search tips you can use to make you pursuit of knowledge and information more productive. Following are the three most effective tips to make your internet search more effective.
Narrowing your search terms
Getting millions of results when conducting research on the internet is common, but it is also frustrating because no one wants to scroll through pages and pages of results. The problem is that most people use search terms, commonly referred to as "keywords," that are too broad or too general.
The best place to being your search is by writing a sentence summarizing the topic you want to find out about. For example, "I want to know what types of luxury cars are available for sale." Take a look at the sentence and highlight the words or phrases to use in your search that might produce the best results. Words from the example might include the following:
Combining the words you selected might result in "luxury cars" and luxury cars for sale." If you want to narrow your search, you could add a year to the keywords to narrow your search to luxury cars for sale in a particular year.
Using basic Boolean search techniques
Boolean is a search technique to help refine your search and narrow the results achieved. Boolean searches rely on commands used in conjunction with your keywords or key phrases. The most common commands are "AND," "OR" and "Not."
Using the command "AND" tells the search engine to search only those documents containing both of the keywords or phrases you have chosen. For example, "luxury" AND "cars" will only return results containing both "luxury" and "cars."
Using the command "OR" tells the search engine to return results with at least one of the keywords you selected. For example, "luxury" OR "cars" will return results containing at least one of the keywords.
The command "NOT" tells the search engine to return results that exclude the second term you typed. For example, "luxury" NOT "cars" will return results containing the word "luxury" and not including the word "cars."
Limiting and evaluating sources
All sources are not equally reliable. Anyone can post to the internet, so you must evaluate the search results to determine how reliable each of them might be. If you want to limit your search results only to specific types of sites, such as government websites or academic websites, you can do so.
Typing "site:gov" and leaving a space before typing your keywords or phrases will only return results from official government sources. If you want to limit your results to education websites, type "site:edu" into the search engine followed by a space and your keywords.
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